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News :: Human Rights
MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
10 Jul 2004
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A month after being arrested while distributing flyers at MIT, former Green-Rainbow city council candidate Aimee Smith has learned that charges against her have been dropped. She says she was “not surprised” that her case was dropped, but not satisfied, either: “We are looking into ways to seek redress to insure that MIT will never again use false arrest to silence people.”
MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith by Bill Cunningham

A month after being arrested while distributing flyers at MIT, former Green-Rainbow city council candidate Aimee Smith has learned that charges against her have been dropped.

She says she was “not surprised” that her case was dropped, but not satisfied, either: “We are looking into ways to seek redress to insure that MIT will never again use false arrest to silence people.”

Smith was one of four members of the Social Justice Cooperative chased off the sidewalk for handing out flyers on June 4, the morning of MIT’s graduation ceremonies. The others were Katherine Gibson, Suzanne Nguyen, and Anne Pollock.

On the very day of the arrests, the Middlesex County D.A.’s office offered to drop all charges if Smith would pay court costs. She rejected that condition.

MIT President Charles (“Chuck”) Vest had backed away from the case, after receiving protests from students, faculty, and community activists.

On Friday, June 11, a delegation met with Vest in his office, asking that MIT affirm free speech rights and repudiate the commencement day actions of the campus police.

A week later Vest wrote Smith that MIT would seek dismissal of the charges against her. He suggested talks to work out rules for leafleting, but offered no apology for the graduation day actions of campus police.

In a June 29 response to people who had contacted his office about the incident, Vest maintained that “the MIT Police acted properly,” even though “there had been no common understanding about where leafleting could take place.” He said that MIT had asked the D.A.’s office to dismiss charges, and that “they informed us that they would not prosecute….”

There is good reason to doubt that the charges— disorderly conduct and disrupting a school assembly— would have held up in a trial.

City and state laws clearly give citizens the right to circulate on the sidewalks. The only exceptions would appear to be an emergency situation, like a fire, or obstructive loitering, including drunkenness. (Section 9.09.060 Municipal Codes).

Citizens also have the right of "peaceful persuasion", "by printing or otherwise".."unless such persuasion is accompanied by injury or threat of injury" (Mass. General Laws, Chapter 149, Section 24). As long as we don't just stand still and block pedestrians, we may rely on this law.

Nguyen, who was with Smith when she was arrested, has stated, “Neither Aimee nor I were yelling or acting in a violent manner” prior to the arrest. The police say otherwise, but they had no witnesses to corroborate their report.

Smith was not charged with obstructing the sidewalks. Indeed, Gibson recalls that when she and Pollock were ordered by MIT police to stop handing out flyers, “we were standing a few feet away from a vendor on Mass Ave. I think the contrast between the right to ‘free commerce’ and the right to ‘free speech’ speaks volumes about MIT priorities.”


This work is in the public domain.
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Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
10 Jul 2004
Lucha si entrega no...
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
12 Jul 2004
Speaking of police harrassing activists before the DNC... They do this all the time, arresting people they know they have no evidence on (like at the 2000 DNC) just to get them of the streets. I ldig the closing quote of this article A LOT.
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
12 Jul 2004
It's hard to imagine that a college that has one of the most progressive radio stations in the city doesn't recognize police abuses right on it's own doorstep. Just another case of the police being faithful to their conservative roots.

"When the Fourth Reich comes, you'll be the first to go.
Nazi Punks, fuck off"
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
12 Jul 2004
I thing the arrest was never meant to go to trial. From the officer's perspective I would suspect that the arrest was made to get a loud mouth, obstinate person out of the area and deter others from the same. I could be wrong though. Rule 3 when in doubt arrest.

bob gorman
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
14 Jul 2004
Now that Aimee has felt what it's like to have her free speech impigned upon, perhaps she'll apologize to the MIT students whose fliers she tore down and defaced.
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
16 Jul 2004
Sexual harassment, though possibly construed as protected free speech under the First Amendment, is nevertheless sexual harassment. MIT has a policy against sexual harassment. MIT's President Vest has admitted there being no clear policy regarding leafletting, so the two situations are not the same.

Whether the posters to which you prefer constitute sexual harassment is a judgment I think better given by members of the oppressed group in question, i.e., women. No doubt you will get different answers depending on the women
you ask. Consider also what happens to women who do voice complaint about harassment. Usually described by the B word and then socially outcasted. When I was 17 at my undergrad college, I was afraid to speak up because the cost to my popularity was too much to bear. So I would have been counted as one of the women who "didn't think X was sexual harassing." In fact I went along with and helped perpetuate the harassing atmosphere, to my shame.

In any case, Smarmy Bastard, when you have been thoroughly objectified and degraded, treated like a piece of ass at work (poked, prodded, and groped by coworkers who think they've got some inherent right to physically molest you; assumed to be dimwitted and incompetent because of your gender; have your ideas stolen and the credit for them taken by the other gender; passed over for opportunities that will advance your career despite being more qualified than others (men) who were given those opportunities; and so on), and feel unsafe in your sphere of life because of the extra threats (rape, other assault, etc.,) to your gender only, maybe you will apologize to the women you help objectify in those precious posters.
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
17 Jul 2004
What exactly was the content of these posters Aimee Smith is supposed to have torn down? Someone mentioned the charge before (in reply to a previous article), but this is the first time I've heard them described as "sexually harassing". I'm willing to believe that was the case, I just want to know what we're talking about here.
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
22 Jul 2004
Aimee tore down posters promoting a graduate student party that featured a 1930's era comic book illustration of a scantily clad Tarzan and Jane.

I'm curious how this poster constituted sexual harassment, while campus LGBT organization posters of nude females in provokative poses somehow escaped her wrath.

Oops. I guess she wouldn't be "smashing the patriarchy" if she tore those ones down.

Oh, and her scrawling "KKK" on fraternity posters was real classy. I'm sure their black members appreciated that one.

Fucking hypocrite.
Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
23 Jul 2004
I don't know squat about MIT community atmosphere which may or maynot contribute to sexual harrassment. I would like to agree with "sick's" Quote. As a Man I have taken for granted my social priviledges I have. Many of these priviledges I was unaware of and unaware of the imposition posed on females.


I too have seen campus organizations (at UMASS) that post activity notices that can be interpreted as objectifing women. What confuses me is when woman's groups use nude women pictures in the activity notification. It reminds me of the use of the "N" word by Blacks. It seems to be acceptable to degrade a group of people with a slur if you are a member of that group. Like, if I was to refer to one of my fellow officers as a "pig" it may be acceptable. It is no wonder to me that persons outside of a group are confused as to what is appropriate conduct or speech.

NOTE;
Becareful at the DNC and support eachother. As I type the Black Tea society is being mentioned on 96.9 fm radio (talk show). Without revealing sensitive information I can tell you there never has been a larger "security" force and policy in the United States. In a mob mentality (in protestors and cops) a sense of responsibility often evaporates. Please, for your own well being don't forget who you are and what you stand for. I am very worried for you all.

Bob Gorman


[QUOTE]Re: MIT charges dropped against Aimee Smith
by Sick of being objectified at MIT
(No verified email address) 16 Jul 2004
Sexual harassment, though possibly construed as protected free speech under the First Amendment, is nevertheless sexual harassment. MIT has a policy against sexual harassment. MIT's President Vest has admitted there being no clear policy regarding leafletting, so the two situations are not the same.

Whether the posters to which you prefer constitute sexual harassment is a judgment I think better given by members of the oppressed group in question, i.e., women. No doubt you will get different answers depending on the women
you ask. Consider also what happens to women who do voice complaint about harassment. Usually described by the B word and then socially outcasted. When I was 17 at my undergrad college, I was afraid to speak up because the cost to my popularity was too much to bear. So I would have been counted as one of the women who "didn't think X was sexual harassing." In fact I went along with and helped perpetuate the harassing atmosphere, to my shame.

In any case, Smarmy Bastard, when you have been thoroughly objectified and degraded, treated like a piece of ass at work (poked, prodded, and groped by coworkers who think they've got some inherent right to physically molest you; assumed to be dimwitted and incompetent because of your gender; have your ideas stolen and the credit for them taken by the other gender; passed over for opportunities that will advance your career despite being more qualified than others (men) who were given those opportunities; and so on), and feel unsafe in your sphere of life because of the extra threats (rape, other assault, etc.,) to your gender only, maybe you will apologize to the women you help objectify in those precious posters. [QUOTE]